Antonia de Vere and Mark Seeney are a creative couple who balance their love of design, and each other, from their dried floral and homewares studio, Mark Antonia, on the Matakana Coast.
Mark and I met at university. He had another girlfriend at the time, but we were very good friends, even though he’s very extroverted and I’m not.
Whenever we had projects, we worked really well together, though at times I found him annoying. He used to tease me by coming into my workroom and scribbling in my notebooks that I liked to keep very neat.
After graduation, we lost contact for a year, until he started turning up on my doorstep with coffee and brioches. We’ve been together for 11 years now, and married for six.
Mark has always followed his passions, wherever they lead. He’s very intelligent and kind, always trying to understand others’ perspective. He can be very stubborn, and loves to play little tricks on me, but because I’m used to it, it never works.
Because he has an architectural background, Mark’s constantly designing, whereas my creations are more spontaneous. We’re always sharing ideas, as we thrive on being creative, and there’s something about the balance between us that works.
With a lot of hard work, the life we’ve built together is something quite magical, and I love him completely. He’s just someone that I want to come home to, that I want to be around.
We met at Unitec where Antonia was studying jewellery and I was majoring in furniture design. We were friends and I thought she was funny, friendly, and very pretty.
She’s very caring and although she says she’s an introvert, she can be quite outgoingly funny. In terms of our business, she is the more spontaneous, creative one, whereas I’m more of a planned, structured creator, putting all the numbers together.
I find that after being self-employed for many years I’ve learnt to have my creative time and my own time and I keep that pretty tight. When we leave the studio, I’m always thinking of ideas, but I try not to bring work home.
We each have our own hobbies and then we share creative interests, such as visiting galleries and museums together. I’m into surfing and snowboarding while she’s an amazing seamstress, creating around 15 pieces during lockdown. Last year we did manage to go to the snow together, and we really enjoyed that.
Antonia hates answering emails, and it drives me crazy, but there’s a multitude of things I love about her. Every day she exhibits a deep empathy for situations and other people — it’s a quality of hers I could learn from and really admire.